Written by: Nia, Survivor
August 8, 2014 – I promised to share about this day, so I am. Right now. It seems as good as any moment since over two years ago I had to get plastic surgery on my nose as a result of injuries I received after being assaulted on this date. So here we go. It was a regular day as any. I was in a trigger phase, and I needed comfort. However, I didn’t receive any; in fact, he left the house to engage in shenanigans.
He came back and saw me laughing at my phone, so he assumed that I was fine. However, I was laughing because my friend blocked my phone number thinking I was someone else. We were tweeting about it. It’s crazy how this all plays out because I needed her and her phone number more than she will ever know. She was the closest person to me once all of this unraveled.
A few days before this entire situation happened, he wasn’t working and was unable to pay his cell phone bill. He needed a phone because he was actively looking for a new job – or so I thought. Out of the goodness of my own heart, I had given him my new iPhone to use, even though I had worked so hard to get it myself. I used an older phone because he wasn’t able to afford anything. I put him on my phone plan, and I was paying the phone bill… and I had a really bad feeling in my gut as soon as I did that.
I approached him because he went into another room and completely ignored me. I had been texting him… and he wasn’t answering any of them because he was mad at me for pretending to be okay while I was chatting with my friend. He was in his brother’s room on the phone that I let him use, doing God knows what.
I asked him if he could put the phone down for a few seconds so I could talk to him. He put the phone down with an attitude. I told him that I really needed him and that I would love to spend some time with him. I was having a trigger moment. He said to me, “Well you look fine because you were just smiling and laughing at your phone. You don’t need me.”
I explained to him that she was a friend from high school who lived 3 hours away from me, and I was trying to get ahold of her. I then said that I was laughing because she assumed I was someone she was trying to avoid, so she blocked me. That didn’t change what I needed from him, but he didn’t care. He just kept ignoring me and flipping the situation back on me, saying that I was acting and faking. The entire time, he kept looking at the phone and texting people while I was trying to talk to him. I just couldn’t handle it anymore because that was something he had always done to me.
Other women on social media were always more important. Some of these women were not at all shy about wanting to sleep with him, and their attention mattered more. People trying to boost his ego were always more important. So, I had enough. Given everything that I had seen in the past on his other phone, I knew that it was nothing good was going on. He put the phone down and looked at me. He wasn’t touching the phone. He had it laying next to him on the bed.
I told him, “I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t keep being disrespected anymore. I am trying to talk to you, and you don’t even care enough to put the phone down. And you’re mad at me for laughing… for five seconds… So, I’m just going to take this phone back, and I’m done. I can’t keep being treated like this.”
I grabbed the phone to take it back. I did not touch him; I did not hit him, and I did not threaten him. All I did was simply grab the phone to take it back. It was my property, and the account was in my name, so I wanted it back. I didn’t deserve to be disrespected while paying for things to keep his head above water.
As I grabbed the phone, he grabbed me by my neck and slammed me into the bed. He slammed my face into the bed three times. I rolled over, and he was on top of me. He then put his arm against my throat, and I started screaming for him to get off me, screaming for him to stop. And he wouldn’t. I yelled at the top of my lungs, praying that someone would hear me. I started punching at him, but he still wouldn’t get off me.
I got away from him, but I was the furthest away from the door – and it was closed behind him. I told him to let me leave, and he wouldn’t. He wanted the phone back, and he was going to get it at any cost. I screamed for him to move, to let me leave, but he wouldn’t. He just stood there right in my way, so I tried to get passed him. He slammed me in the bedroom wall next to the door, still fighting me to get the phone back. I can only imagine what was on it that he didn’t want me to see.
At this point, I was exhausted and still trying to figure out how I was going to get out of the room. He held me against the wall and slammed me against it repeatedly, causing me to drop the phone. I put my foot on it, so he moved me to the door and rammed his head into my stomach several times.
At that point, I realized there just wasn’t any reason that that phone was more important than my life. I tried to pick it up to give it to him, but as soon as I did, he slammed me back into the door. My head smashed back into it. I kicked it at him and told him he could have it. I got out of the room, and he followed me down the hallway because I was trying to leave the house. It was a shoving match. He pushed me, and I pushed him back. He pushed me so hard that the side of my head smacked into the wall.
And as we got into the kitchen, I pushed him so hard that he fell onto the couch. I told him to stop putting his fucking hands on me. He stood up and balled up his fist like he was going to punch me in the face. He called me a bitch and then picked me up and threw me into the kitchen counter a few times; I screamed and cried the entire time.
I reached down to grab for something — anything – to defend myself. I felt a pot, picked it up, and hit him in the face with it. He got pissed. He backed away from me, and he asked, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” I replied, “I told you that you were going to stop fucking putting your hands on me.” I was trying to get passed him to leave the house, and as I got to open the door, he tried to stop me and was hit in the face by the door. He pushed me out of the way, got in his car, and left.
Growing up, my dad always told me that if there is ever a situation where a man puts his hands on you, you should do these three things in this order: defend yourself, call me, and pack your shit and leave. I never thought that I would ever have to use that advice, but I did. I called my dad, and he didn’t answer. I called my mom, and when she picked up, I yelled for her to put my dad on the phone.
My dad got on the phone because he could tell something was wrong. “He fucking put his hands on me, dad… he put his hands on me. I need you to fly out here so I can drive back with you and we can pack my shit… I need to get out of here.” He told me that he couldn’t fly out to me and that I just needed to pack what I could and leave. Mind you, my dad was in the Midwest, and I was on the east coast, 1400 miles away from my dad and my family.
At that moment, I remembered I just had gotten my friend to text me back and that she was only three hours away. I called her twice. She sent me a text saying she was in class and asked what I needed. I replied, “I need your address… I am in danger, and I will explain everything later. I need to come to you.” Without hesitation, she sent me her address, and I packed everything I could while I was still on the phone with my father.
My abuser’s mother came to the house to ask me why her son’s face was bruised and why I looked perfectly fine – which I didn’t. She said, “You just need to learn a man’s place in this world, and that’s what that is going to be.” I was completely baffled to hear this coming from a woman whose son had lost his front two teeth because of one of her abusive boyfriends.
My dad was on the phone the entire time. He told me to ignore her, keep packing, and get out as fast as I could. So, I did. And I got on the road to drive three hours to my friend. Not one time did I cry… not one time did I do anything. I just drove… and I drove for three hours with my dad calling me on and off to check on me.
Finally, I made it to where my friend lived, and I waited in my car for about 20 minutes until she came home. Once she got back, she brought me inside asked me what happened, and I told her. I still hadn’t cried or broke down yet. I was still filled with adrenaline from the whole situation.
We went to dinner with my friend’s family, and my dad spoke to her dad and thanked all of them. Later, I went to sleep – or I tried – and I woke up at about 4 am to start the drive back to my parents’ house out west by myself. After two days, I made it back home. Some friends set aside time to stay on the phone with me to make sure that I made it back safely. When I wanted to cry, I called one of them. Going back to my parents was the hardest thing I think I ever had to do. I struggled for a very long time, replaying all of those events in my mind.
Over the course of the next two years, I started to have some issues with my nose. I could barely breathe and got as many as six or seven sinus infections a year. I didn’t know what was causing them, so I finally went to an ENT (ear nose and throat specialist). He looked at my nose and was baffled at how badly deviated it was. The septum is supposed to be in a straight line. Mine was in an upside-down U – completely damaged. He said that I needed surgery and asked how this happened, wondering if I had any sports injuries, and I said no.
Then it hit me. My face was slammed into a mattress a few times, and I was also dodging elbows to the face when my ex assaulted me. I told him my ex was abusive and he was taken aback. I left the office with a surgery date and a plan to get it repaired, and I felt hurt from being reminded yet again that I had to deal with the fallout from the abuse. The surgery was supposed to be about 45 minutes, but it turned into almost 2 hours. After I woke up from the anesthesia, the surgeon came out and told me that the surgery took longer because the damage was far worse than they expected.
Things just seemed to keep getting worse. Recovery was absolutely painful. I was off work for three weeks, and all I could do was finally deal with it all. I was depressed, and I had to deal with the physical damage and trauma of being abused.
Once I got back home to my parents, I threw myself into working and finishing school, and I never emotionally dealt with anything. All of it came falling on me like a ton of bricks. It was heavy, and it was brutal. It fucking sucked. I finally physically recovered, and I was still in the process of recovering from it emotionally. I later found out that due to the trauma to my neck, the base of my neck was degenerating, and my spine is badly misaligned. My C3 is also damaged, causing brutal headaches.
It just kept coming at me — all of this. And I just was forced to take it. I had no choice but to deal with it, and I was forced to get through it. I got the purple ribbon and survivor tattooed on my foot as a reminder every day that I survived.
No, my abuse wasn’t as bad as most horror stories you hear. But it happened to me. Still… it happened to me a few times. I knew that at the moment of that assault that occurred in broad daylight on that day in August – with no alcohol involved – whom I was dating. And I needed to get out.
I have the tattoo to remind me that I made it and I will keep surviving – no matter how bad it gets. August 8, 2014, changed my life in so many ways that I am still dealing with today.
But I survived.
And I will keep on surviving. Every. Single. Day.
**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.
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